This project is funded under Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities

Media Policy Makers Researchers Civil Society Organizations
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Contact us: Maria Schwarz-Woelzl
Email: schwarz at

Tel. +43 1 49 50 442-52
Linke Wienzeile 246
A-1150 Vienna Austria

Our vision

The Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) is a self-determined, politically independent scientific institution, asserting thematic leadership in Europe to advance social innovation and to foster an overt and solidly united society.

The mission

The ZSI applies socio-scientific research, education, advisory and networking services to reduce the gap between social needs and potentials of the knowledge based information society. By connecting its scientific basis with practical applications the ZSI provides an interface across scientific disciplines and sectors (trans-disciplinarity).

Work in trans-disciplinary projects is geared towards policies concerning research, technological and social development, innovation processes, and four particular socio-economic objectives, namely to:

  • Support a socially, ecologically and economically sustainable development of the Information Society
  • Facilitate social, cultural and economic integration in Europe
  • Participate in the implementation and utilisation of the European Research Area (ERA)
  • Develop infrastructures, effectiveness and internationalisation of the social sciences


Areas of activity

Social innovation denotes new ways to meet social challenges. It comprises improvements compared to non-existent or previous solutions. Social innovations occur either due to new (at least: changed) rules, or because of a modified composition of participants (and their roles respectively). Sectors concerned include public administration, political bodies, legislation, private enterprises, social partners, and civil society.

Services provided and the multi-functionality of the ZSI, indicated by key-words:


basic and applied research; research policies; research infrastructures; benchmarking of research organisations; research funding; advancement of science in society


academic and vocational teaching and training; supporting technology enhanced learning; promotion of learning in cross-cultural, self-directed, and social networking modes

Policy Advice

evaluation of projects, programmes, policies and institutions, monitoring socio-technical systems, advisory services regarding innovation, technology, e-Society, and other social issues

Network co-ordination

formation and maintenance of communication and information flows bridging diverse knowledge bases; governance and improvement of co-operative processes, particularly in the labour market



The organisation

ZSI is a not-for-profit research institute, established 1990 as a private association under Austrian law. Work is organised and financed project by project, resulting from participation in competitive Calls for Proposals and Calls for Tender published by public authorities on national, European and international levels. Since the beginning, the ZSI is a strong and well received partner in steadily expanding international networks. Scientific expertise of the 40+ employees encompass labour market, governance and partnerships, migration research, technology enhanced learning and other IT applications, European Research and Technology Development (RTD), knowledge economics, technology assessment and impact analysis.

The board of the ZSI, responsible for management and strategic development, consists of five members: